Have you ever been to a Swap party? It’s like a yardsale where everyone contributes but no one pays. Ever since I discovered the idea 10 years ago, I have been hosting quarterly swap parties to motivate me to declutter my house and update my wardrobe on the cheap. If I am running behind on scheduling a swap party, one of my friends is bound to ask when the next one is. Not just because it is a chance to clean out the old but because it is a chance to share with each other. Items lead to funny stories and past remembrances or clothes bring delight when you see them transformed on someone new! You get to see where something you valued is going, and the joy it brings to another, which makes letting go easier.
Sometimes people bring brand new expensive items that were gifts they didn’t want to return. While others find something random laying around their house just so they can come. I have been thinking about awarding certificates for the most random item. One time it was a case of Budlight left over from a party. Another time it was a white satin robe labeled BRIDE. More than once, I’ve seen my sister using something at her house, like the fancy wine opener or the phone tripod, and asked “Where did you get that?” She replies nonchalantly, “Oh, one of your swap parties.”
But maybe the best part of the party is that the treasures I find are perfectly suited for that time period in my life. The last swap party I had, I got the cutest tea cup and set of tea (from different people mind you). There were also puzzles and books and other things suited for the time of quarantine. It was like a signal from my angels that it was time for me to go inside and rest and just be. This time became a creative period for me where I spent much time writing and planning and meditating.
Although I could go on and on about the benefits of swap parties….especially about how environmental it is to reuse and share and then donate what is left over, I’m not saying that you have to have a swap party. I am saying that ritual and traditions build you up. And when you practice these rituals with family, friends, and neighbors, you create bonds and community. You give people a purpose for coming together and a shared experience. And it is fun to see how it grows and evolves as people bring in their own creativity and gifts. It might be worth considering how you could create or renew a tradition in your life today.